The Dirty Truth Behind Your Favorite Pair Of Denim

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The first pair of denims were manufactured in 1873. We have been wearing these wardrobe staples for 143 years. We wear them, we love them. A piece of clothing we take for granted.

But I am sure, very few of us would have thought about what it takes to make that pretty blue color.

Today, through this post, I would like to bring forward the truth behind your favorite pair of denim. The polluting side of manufacturing this piece of clothing.



This consists of all the processes starting from cotton cultivation and ending with the consumer usage of the denim. Globally, around 1.24 billion pair of denims are sold every year. If we take into account the carbon footprint generated here, it transforms into something very alarming.


Shocking, right?

The scale of this carbon emission can be understood by these facts:

If we consider the carbon footprint of conversion of fibre to fabric stage (11.16 million tonnes), it is equal to greenhouse gas emissions from:


And equivalent to carbon concealed by:


In fact, you’d be surprised to know about the water consumption in denim manufacturing.
Here are some facts:


The process wise water use is as listed below:


What you can do to reduce the consumption of resources in denim manufacturing?

Though a lot of manufacturers are trying to reduce the impact of denim manufacturing on the environment, there is still a vast scope. All they need to do is invest in green technology to evolve their processes and methods and monitor the impact on the environment.

Green technologies like intelloBuy and intelloCut can help them curb the very need of fabric by accurate buying and efficient planning.

Visit to know more.


1. LCA-Results- Deck-FINAL.pdf

2. equivalencies-calculator

*Figures used in this article have been extracted from sources mentioned above.

About the author:

Navjeet Raj is a senior consultant at ThreadSol Software. He has over 7 years of apparel industry experience with a valuable global exposure. He holds a degree in Fashion Technology from NIFT.

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  1. Frank Lomax says

    Thank You for a very interesting factual subject.

    When in the employ of Levi Strauss, Northern Europe Division Product Development for two years, I remember reading in the book ‘ The Shrink to Fit Business that Stretched to Cover the World’ (History of Levi Strauss)

    That book mentioned the first ever ‘Riveted Jeans’ which were made by Levi Strauss, a San Francisco Hardware Store owner, from the Sails of the many Sailing Ships left to rot in San Francisco Harbour by the thousands of Californian Gold Rush Prospectors who travelled there.

    Also Interesting is that the Original Jean Design (The 501 Button Fly) made from the Narrow Fabric from Cone Mills utilised almost all of the fabric including both selvedges due to following the those original pattern shapes (fundamentally and oblong with a diagonal line and two shallow scoops for the front and back rises).

    The whims of ‘Fashion & Design’ has taken the product a long distance form those early days.
    Best Wishes

  2. Anonymous says

    Alarming issue.
    Good knowledgeable articles.
    Better soluatiin.

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